Crews making progress on wind-whipped Utah wildfires

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Fire crews were making steady progress on more than a half dozen wind-whipped wildfires burning in Utah on Friday, including one sparked by a car fire on a state highway that had threatened a small town in southwest Utah.

The southern half and northeast corner of the state remained under a red flag warning because of the hot, blustery conditions. But no evacuations have been ordered at any of the fires, and no injuries have been reported.

Federal fire officials determined Friday an abandoned campfire sparked another fire in southwest Utah that has burned more than 11 square miles (28 sq. kilometers) of national forest since it was reported on Wednesday.

The Great Basin fire coordination center said about 200 firefighters are on the lines of the fire in the Dixie National Forest about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of St. George. It estimated that fire remains uncontained. About 10 homes remained threatened on neighboring private land about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the fire.

Authorities reopened State Highway 130 Friday north of Cedar City and west of Interstate 15 after it was closed Thursday afternoon when gusty winds carried the flames from the car into the bordering grassland. The fire has burned more than 9 square miles of small trees and brush.

Crews “made good progress to stop the forward progression on portions” of the fire overnight west of the highway. But the blaze remains active, and more critical fire conditions were anticipated later Friday, a U.S. Bureau of Land Management spokesman said.

The fire was moving east of the small town of Minersville, where numerous structures were threatened on Thursday. It has burned more than 9 square miles (23 sq. kilometers) with no containment as of Friday afternoon.

A fire on the Utah-Idaho line has burned more than 7 square miles (18 sq. kilometers) and is estimated to be 30 percent contained.

Jason Curry, a spokesman with the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, said humans are suspected of starting that fire, but the exact cause remains under investigation.

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